Old cup re­born for autis­tic teen

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHRIS PETERSON in Lon­don chris@mail.chi­nadai­lyuk.com Xu Jingxi in Guang­dong con­trib­uted to this story.

A Chi­nese-owned UK com­pany has come to the aid of a 14-year-old autis­tic Bri­tish boy by re­ac­ti­vat­ing pro­duc­tion of his fa­vorite 1990s baby drink­ing cup at a plant in China.

May­born Group, based in the north­east of Eng­land, jumped into ac­tion af­ter hear­ing of an ap­peal by Marc Carter, whose 14-year-old autis­tic son Ben will drink only from a blue Tom­mee Tippee cup, which the com­pany last pro­duced nearly 20 years ago. Ben’s fa­vorite cup was get­ting worn and needed re­plac­ing.

May­born, which was ac­quired by Shang­hai Jahwa (Group) Co in April, was for­merly owned by in­vest­ment group 3i.

“Like peo­ple all over the world, we’ve been in­cred­i­bly touched by Ben’s story, and wanted to do ev­ery­thing we could to help find the cups he loves,” May­born’s spokesman Matt de Leon said.

“We asked our staff in of­fices across the world to look through archived prod­uct sam­ples in case we had a case of them hid­den in a cup­board or ware­house,” de Leon told China Daily. “Un­for­tu­nately we didn’t, as it’s al­most 20 years since this style of cup was man­u­fac­tured, so we looked into the pos­si­bil­ity of cre­at­ing a spe­cial pro­duc­tion run for Ben.”

The orig­i­nal molds for the cup were fi­nally un­earthed at the fac­tory of one of their con­trac­tors, Jackel China. The sup­plier is based in the Chang­ping sec­tion of Dong­guan, in Guang­dong prov­ince. The fac­tory is dis­cussing the cup’s color with Ben’s fa­ther, Marc, and pro­duc­tion has en­tered the fi­nal stage, an of­fi­cial who asked to re­main anony­mous at the Dong­guan govern­ment pub­lic­ity depart­ment told China Daily. Fac­tory of­fi­cials could not be reached late Thurs­day.

The plan is to do a spe­cial run of 500 cups in time for Ben to re­ceive the first one in early 2017.

“We’re con­vinced this pro­duc­tion run will make a real dif­fer­ence to Ben, and give him enough cups for the rest of his life,” de Leon added.

Ben’s fa­ther Marc tweeted: “Can’t be­lieve Tom­mee Tippee have man­aged to find the mold and are go­ing to make me so many. They have been truly in­cred­i­ble, such a genu- in­ely lovely and car­ing team.”

He told Tyne-Tees Tele­vi­sion: “I’m try­ing to find a pro­duc­tion com­pany to help me make a film about this story and to go to China to film the cups be­ing made, but also in­clude the sto­ries of so many other fam­i­lies who have their own Bens, with their ver­sion of the lit­tle blue cup, be it a toy, blan­ket, teddy or a cup.

“It helps with the con­ver­sa­tion about autism and helps get the de­bate go­ing,” he said.


Autis­tic Bri­tish teen Ben Carter won’t drink from any cup be­sides his worn Tom­mee Tippee, which is no longer man­u­fac­tured.

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